We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Loneliness Creepypasta Glitch Horror Film)


The avenue connecting horror cinema and creepypasta culture has generally been a one-way street. Creepypastas take plenty of influence from horror films, but the only mainstream stabs at adapting them are Sony’s 2018 Slender Man and Syfy’s Channel Zero series. There’s assorted indie Youtubers, exploitation mockbusters, and scaremongering docudramas, but We’re All Going to the World’s Fair marks the first arthouse take on the subject. We follow a teenager named Casey who dives into a creepypasta/ARG called the “World’s Fair Challenge” – partly because it offers escape from her mundane, friendless suburban life, and partly just for something to do. As Casey uploads her increasingly unsettling videos, awaiting the weird transformations promised by World’s Fair lore, she starts receiving messages from a mysterious fellow ARG player, whose identity and intentions are far from clear.


Recognizing that the internet has supplanted cinema as humankind’s mythmaking tool, writer/director Jane Schoenbrun constructs a bleak, disquieting film that exploits the form’s inherent tension between community and isolation. In some ways, the creepypasta has revived the much older tradition of participatory storytelling. But while the unity of audience and creator was once a result of communalism, today it’s a function of digital distance. In other words, the same technology that allows us to tell stories together is also what’s pushing us apart. In keeping with the creepypasta aesthetic, the film uses a blend of found-footage and conventional cinematic sequences. Two different characters liken Casey’s videos to the Paranormal Activity franchise, but this is no self-aware meta horror movie. Rather than wink at the audience, the intertextual moments underscore the depth of Casey’s loneliness. How unsatisfying must her life be if she’d rather live in Paranormal Activity? 21st-century teenagers no longer escape into Hollywood romance – they build their dream houses out of glitchy video and digital noise.


Written by Cthulen, Dead Dreamer

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021, US)
Jane Schoenbrun
5 / 5